- W.O. Bentley’s engineering masterpiece; one of the most respected cars of its era
- Only five owners since new, including the Doune Motor Museum
- Original engine, body, and chassis; impressive history file
- A veteran rally participant, as recently as 2015; much recent sorting
- A joy to drive . . . with gusto
Est. 195 bhp, 4,480 cc SOHC V-12 engine, four-speed manual transmission, torsion-bar independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,150 mm
Rare is the opportunity for an engineer to express all of his talents with few limitations. Given the chance to do just that when he arrived at British automaker Lagonda in the late 1930s, W.O. Bentley put together a V-12 composed of chromidium, duralumin, steel, aluminium, and phosphor-bronze, with every single component tested to perform flawlessly under any operating condition. It sat on a chassis with independent front suspension and four-wheel hydraulic brakes, greatly improving handling and stopping power.
Offered here is an original factory-bodied Drophead Coupé that retains its original engine, chassis, and body, which it was delivered with on 4 July 1938, to Mr K. Anderson, of Eastcot Place, Middlesex. It was laid up with little use through World War II, but it survived to be sold to Henry Wijnmalen, a Dutch-born British subject who made his fortune between the wars by importing aircraft and breeding racehorses. A period newspaper article pictures Winjmalen and a lady in front of the Lagonda, describing him as a “lover of fast horses, fast automobiles, and beautiful women.”
Wijnmalen sold the Lagonda to Douglas John Moray Stewart, the Lord Doune, later the 20th Earl of Moray, who used it as his personal automobile and then transferred it to his motor museum at his family’s Warnaway Castle in Scotland. Whilst in Lord Doune’s ownership, the car was repainted in 1970 from its original silver to the present Prussian Blue, and it was featured in Peter Hugo’s book, Private Motor Car Collections of Great Britain. It remained in his care for some 20 years.
Following its acquisition by the fourth owner, a German rally enthusiast, the car was carefully brought up to his standards over a decade, while also sympathetically being kept as original as possible. A complete overhaul and rebuild of the V-12 was completed in 2008, including a completely new camshaft, new Mahle pistons, and specially handcrafted valves. A power test following the overhaul indicates a performance of 195 brake horsepower, which he and his wife enjoyed on numerous outings and rallies across Europe.
Subsequently, the car joined the illustrious collection of its fifth and present owners, who have retained it under Lord Doune’s British registration, HSO 100. Accompanied by an impressive history file, it is smooth, fast, and remarkably tractable, with the ability to corner at high speeds. A rally veteran, including two splendid days touring the Scottish highlands while participating in the 2015 Holyroodhouse Concours of Elegance, it has a wonderful patina, clear evidence of decades of proper care and enthusiastic enjoyment.
This car, a Lagonda of quality, purity, and provenance, bearing the engine that was W.O. Bentley’s last and greatest accomplishment, is fit enough to grace any prestigious collection, just as it did at a Scottish castle many years ago.